She gave Finn an odd look, things couldn’t be going well with that much yelling. They had been summoned but she did not want to enter the room with Poe and Leia screaming at each other. Finn gave a sigh before knocking loudly. She was surprised they actually heard the interruption but at least their argument was on hold. Poe opened the door, the anger evident on his face. Whatever was wrong, it had to be serious. In the few months she’d know him, she’d never seen him lose his temper like this.
“You brought in reinforcements?” he asked incredulously. “You said this was our last resort and you know I’m the best person to do this! Snap can take over my position, but no one else can do this mission. There’s no one else with the right information!”
“And if it kills Rey?” Leia asked, voice straining. “You didn’t let me finish explaining.”
That made her take notice. “Why am I dying exactly?” she asked loudly.
“Why would it kill Rey?” he asked, voice finally softening. “I thought I’d be the only one at risk.”
“How about you start from the beginning,” Finn interrupted. “I get the feeling we’re missing something. “
Leia had them all sit as she explained the situation. Rey knew the war wasn’t going well, but she hadn’t realized things were that dire for the Resistance. No one, not a single one of their former allies was willing to help. All the supplies they had received had been nothing more than bribes to leave. The First Order under Snoke has been bad enough but with Kylo Ren in charge, the destruction had been terrible. Any planet they were suspected of being on was swiftly and mercilessly destroyed. Children stolen, resources taken and people tortured and killed for even the suspicion of aiding. Kylo was determined to see the end of all of them, not caring for the collateral damage he caused. It had gone further than oppression and back to genocide, the galaxy would no longer risk opposing him. Whispers of his wrath had reached everyone. He trusted no one but the Knights of Ren since Hux’s failed assasination. He was killing anyone who stood in his path, anyone he felt had betrayed him. They had less than 100 people, there was no possible way to take the First Order down, everyone was too afraid.
So Leia had one last plan. A Jedi artifact that she had been hiding for years at her brother’s request, no one but the twins still knew of its existence. The situation was dire enough she was willing to risk it. Luke had said he’d found it years ago, it had never been tested due to he fact the creator thought it might kill the Jedi required to power it. It required someone with access to channel the Force, a lot of it. So Jedi or Sith, not merely Force sensitive. Leia was desperate but not enough to risk Rey’s life, she was the only one powerful enough to even stand a chance against the new Supreme Leader. If they could another way to power it, then they could go through with the plan.
The artifact was supposed to be able to send a person back in time. If they could go back, change certain events, they could prevent the First Order from ever rising. They’re were rules, Leia also had the creator’s notes, so sending someone back to the first war was their best bet. Why Poe was the ideal person, it had to be someone who didn’t exist yet. He had grown up in a colony full of former Alliance personnel, he knew the stories, the people and best of all, he knew his way around the former base. He could slip in, convince Leia of who he was and stop certain events and change others with her help. At least that was his thought, since whoever they sent would never be able to return.
Which had just started the argument all over again. Leia didn’t want to risk her best pilot, her third in command and someone she had known since his childhood over something that might never work. “I risk my life all the time!” he insisted. “Every time I get in a ship I could die! It’s not like I’ve never gone on a potential one way mission before.”
“Yes but that was before there were so few of us!” Leia countered. “I need you here, the First Order will slow down eventually, they can’t destroy the whole galaxy. We just need to wait, we can both pass on whatever information we need to to someone else.”
“I can’t draw a map of the base, it’s like when I fly,” he said vehemently. “It’s all memory, I played there all the time when I was a kid. I can’t draw people’s faces, I’ll just recognize them. I need to be the one to go and you know it!”
This was getting them nowhere. If they were going to lose, it was time to stop playing cautiously. The people here had become her family, she was willing to risk anything for them. If going back would save them, she’d happily risk her own life. Kylo Ren would not play fair, she knew that with every fibre of her being. It wouldn’t be a one on one showdown, winner takes all fight. She had been told about how Luke had been fired upon after they escaped Crait, Kylo had no problems shooting a single man with every weapon he had. He would do the same to her, she knew she was one of his main targets now. He had expected her to fall in line, join him on his crusade to rid the galaxy of those he felt had wronged him but she refused. He wouldn’t stop until she was dead, she was a threat to him.
They were still arguing, Finn trying to play peacekeeper. “I’ll do it,” she said loudly, making all three stop and stare. “If me dying will stop this war from ever starting, I’d be selfish not to do this.”
She expected their refusals but she ignored the men, Leia was the one she needed to convince. “You know I can’t win this war on my own. I might be able to beat Kylo but I can’t take on him, the Knights and an entire army,” she said staring the woman in the eye. “I’d need an entire army to even have a chance and you just told us that isn’t going to happen. If this is the only way to win, I’ll do it. Behind your back if I need to. I’ll never be fully trained, but if my power can be more useful in stopping this war than fighting it, it might be for the best. I don’t even have a lightsaber anymore, there’s no possible way for me to win.”
Leia looked between her and Poe. She snuck a peek at the man, his face showed the same determination she was sure was on her own. “You’ll need to go back home Poe,” she finally replied. “The last thing we need is for you to end up stranded here with no base or ship and die anyways.”
“Are you all crazy?” Finn shouted. “You can’t let them do this!”
She rose from her seat, pulling him into a hug. “What if it works?” she asked him. “You’ll never be taken from your family Finn. Rose won’t lose hers either. If it does work, everything will be better.”
He pulled away from her. “But none of us will ever meet,” he said emphatically. “Or you both just die for nothing! We don’t know what could go wrong, or end up worse.”
“Then we need to plan,” Poe said from his chair. “We make a list of who and what we need to stop. We have to hope.”
It took weeks of planning, but Poe had his list. Poe also had a dozen holograms, most of them blank in case he needed help convincing people who he was. They were all keyed so only the person who recorded them could start it. Leia and Chewie’s were the only ones not blank, she said her at 19 was a tad stubborn. The Wookiee hadn’t understood, they only told him so much but he’d recorded a simple message. He had no idea the message was for his younger self. Finn took turns trying to convince both of them to rethink the plan but they both seemed to have bonded with some morbid solidarity. The hardest part was the goodbyes. No one but the four of them knew the real plan so they tried to make it seem like it was just a routine mission. They both knew they were never coming back but other than Finn and Leia, it was supposed to look temporary. Rose had guessed at the truth, Finn was far too upset for this to anything other than a one way trip. The four of them had felt like a complete unit, and now that was going to be completely lost. She hadn’t expected her own tears, but they had been quick to come and impossible to stop. Her and Poe had needed to sneak away, both of them looking a little worse for wear.
The trip to Yavin was uneventful and far too quiet. Now that she had decided on this path, she wanted it over with quickly. But the empty chips needed to be filled by former rebels first and she wouldn’t deny Poe his goodbye to his father. It seemed so strange to her, almost everyone she knew had joined the Resistance because they had lost everything but Poe had a family and a home. He was doing this out of duty, an obligation to do what was right.
It felt strange to be in an actual home. Seeing a real parent with their child. She tried to stay out of the way but Poe’s father made it impossible, inviting her in, asking what she liked to eat, wanting to know if she was comfortable. This life was completely foreign to her, she wasn’t sure what she was supposed to do. Especially since it was obvious he hadn’t told his father why they were here. Kes was about to be crushed, there was no other option. He was going to lose his son, and the strange woman who was with him. She didn’t want to be there for that conversation. Poe seemed happy to defer it, saying he needed to speak to several others before nightfall. He left her alone with his father, which turned out to be a strange blessing.
He was a little shocked when he found out she was a Jedi. No matter how much she demurred, said how she was completely untrained, he was fascinated. He told her of his own experiences with Luke, telling her of a man so different than the one she had met. One not living in misery over his failures, seeming more hopeful like his twin. She would have liked to have met that Luke Skywalker very much. Then he mentioned the tree and she couldn’t help her excitement. He walked her there, feeling the difference from the one on the island. This one was still young and vibrant, the Force amazingly strong. She was more than happy to sit here, it took her mind off what was to come.
She returned to the house when the light began to fade, walking into another argument. She wanted to turn and leave immediately but she was brought in by his father. Poe hadn’t mentioned her part in all this, making Kes even more furious. She didn’t understand, the man had just met her but he didn’t seem to care. She could understand him losing his son, she knew enough about Poe to know the man had already lost his wife but a strange new woman’s death should have been irrelevant. They explained as best they could, going back would make things better but he didn’t care. They had given up, it was late and they were all tired, he said they could discuss another option in the morning. She wasn’t surprised when Poe woke her in the middle of the night. They would do this now, neither of them was going to be swayed.
They were silent again as he lead them to the former rebel base, her hand firmly held in his as they walked in the dark. He knew where he was going, only speaking when he warned her of an oncoming obstacle in their path. The hulking structures gave her a strange feeling but she pushed it back. It wasn’t time for doubts, they had to succeed or the Resistance was down two members for nothing. He turned the small light to its brightest setting, allowing her to finally see clearly. She didn’t want to let go of his hand, the nervousness bubbling up now that the time was truly here. He seemed to sense it, stopping to look at her fully.
He gave her hand a squeeze. “We don’t have to do this Rey,” he whispered. “We can go back to base. Just because I’m willing to do this doesn’t mean you have to.”
She tried to smile, not sure how successful she was. “We need to try,” she replied just as quietly. “This might be the best way to win.”
He seemed satisfied with her answer, nodding once before continuing further into the base. Poe lead her to what was probably an old storage room or office, finally dropping her hand to remove the artifact from his bag. It wasn’t particularly large or ornate, she was actually a little underwhelmed by it. How could something so unimpressive save them? He handed it to her before putting the bag back over his shoulder. She supposed the chips and the data pad with all his notes were in there, he would need them on him if they were successful.
She looked down at the dirty floor, she supposed it didn’t matter much now. She had gotten used to being clean all the time once they had settled in at the base. She looked up at Poe, confused by the expression on his face. He looked sad but there was something else on his face, something she’d never seen before. He had to notice her staring. She was confused when he took a step forward and was wrapping her up in a hug. She felt herself tense for a moment before she reached her own arms around him. She supposed they needed to say goodbye too. The hug was brief, he pulled away first and sat down on the ground.
She followed his lead, sitting across from him, holding out the artifact for him to touch. “Ready?” she asked, hating how weak her voice sounded.
He nodded before reaching out to hold her hand again. The metal felt cool still, even with it clasped between their hands. She closed her eyes and tried to concentrate, feeling the Force around her. She was supposed to channel it through herself into the device but they was all they could decipher from the notes. She knew instantly when began working, she could feel the drain begin, like all of her senses were extended beyond anything she had ever known only to shrink down to the point to contact between her and Poe. It hurt. She felt her mouth open in a scream. She could feel herself growing weaker, it wouldn’t be long now. The last thing he felt was Poe’s fingers gripping her hand tightly before the feeling of falling.
His head hurt but sprang up the moment he woke up and remembered. Rey’s scream would haunt him for the rest of his life. He wasn’t in the small dark room anymore but he was still in the base. It had worked, it had to have. The lights were on, there hadn’t been any power here since before he was born. The problem, he was most definitely in a cell.
It didn’t take long for someone to show up, yelling his head off seemed to have worked. The man was definitely wearing an Alliance uniform, General if the insignia was right. He didn’t look happy, his face had that perpetual angry look. Definitely intelligence then.
“Glad to see you’re finally awake,” the man said. “I would appreciate knowing how you managed to infiltrate our base out of thin air. It was quite the remarkable trick, something that could come in very handy.”
“I’ll tell you everything,” he replied. “After I speak to Leia Organa.”
The man chuckled. “You aren’t in any position to make demands,” he said, the threat very clear. “I want answers, and I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to get them, to you and your companion. I would have been happy to just let her die but there are far too many soft hearted people who were there when you were both arrived. So, let’s try this again.”
It took him a moment to reply. “Rey’s alive?” he asked, still shocked. “She came with me? I need to see her!”
He exhaled deeply. “Well I have a name at least but you don’t seem to understand how serious the situation is,” he said menacingly. “Perhaps I should just kill you and get what I need from her. The only thing stopping me is is the chance she might not live, so I suggest you start talking.”
“My name is Poe Dameron,” he said quickly. “I’d love to tell you everything but you won’t believe me. Why I need Leia, or my father or one of the other few people who will be able to make what I say not sound completely insane.”
“Try me,” he said with a smirk.
So he did. He knew it was useless, no sane person would believe he had come from the future. His bag was gone, the man in front of him most likely had it and was trying to get into the holo chips and datapad as they were speaking. He told him the truth though, if he wanted to see Rey, it was probably his best bet to get the man to somewhat trust him. She wasn’t supposed to be here, but if he showed up with someone else, Rey had to be it.
It was no help, the man looked more angry than before. “Well Dameron, I see you weren’t lying about being insane,” he said once the story was done. “Perhaps a few days alone will make you feel a little more cooperative. I’m needed elsewhere but I’ll be sure to pass on your message to someone in the Royal family next time I see them,” he said condescendingly.
That startled him. “Wait!” he shouted.
The man turned, looking smug. “Ready to tell me the truth are you?” he asked.
“They’re still alive?” he questioned frantically. “Alderaan hasn’t been destroyed yet? The Empire hasn’t gotten there?”
“The Empire is going to destroy Alderaan?” he laughed, turning away. “I should just kill you now.”
“Evacuate the planet!” he screamed to the closing door.
It had to have been days but a much more somber looking General entered the cellblock with two others. “Open the door,” the woman in the group said.
“I’m guessing the Death Star just killed a few million people,” he said staring at the General.
The woman in front of him gave a weak smile. “My name is Mon Mothma,” she said soothingly. “I’m sorry General Draven didn’t inform us of your arrival. Perhaps this could have been avoided if we’d been told the whole story. I’d like to hear it now if I could. He also said you could prove it, I think we can forgo that for the moment.”
They were interrupted by the second man. “The General said you wanted Leia,” he said loud enough to interrupt. “She been taken but you would know that already if what you’re saying is true. Will she survive?”
“She’ll be rescued,” he answered. “She’s alive and well as can be 40 years from now where I come from.”
“You can’t really expect us to believe him,” Draven said angrily. “He’s an Imperial spy! That’s how he knew Alderaan would be destroyed. I know you’re worried about your daughter but we can’t trust him!”
“You’re Bail Organa?” he asked. “You were supposed to die on Alderaan.”
“Draven wouldn’t let me go home,” the man said angrily. “I suppose I know why now.”
“You see!” the General said at the same time. “He’s here to confuse us! We can’t believe a word he says!”
He stared at the two men in front of him. “I can prove it right now,” Poe said smirk in place. “It’s common knowledge that Leia’s adopted but what isn’t it the fact that she had a twin brother. Luke Skywalker will be one of the people who rescues her by the way. Maybe you could explain that they’re siblings this time around, it’ll save them a lot of hassle. It took them years to figure it out.”
He knew he had the man when he saw the complete confusion on Mothma and Draven’s faces and the shock on his. “No one knew about Luke,” he whispered. “No one but me, Obi-Wan and Yoda.”
“Everyone knows it in the future,” he replied. “And who their father is.”
Leia’s father looked beyond worried at that. “He’s telling the truth,” Organa said. “What other proof do you have?”
He was more than happy to move on, telling everyone about Vader wasn’t exactly going to help the situation. “Since Leia isn’t here, you need to get my dad ... well Kes Dameron anyways,” he replied. “And I need my bag back with the chips. I’m hoping you didn’t destroy them, it’s got messages from Alliance members from my time.”
It took a little bit of time but they were all in a private room, several younger but familiar faces waiting outside. It hadn’t really occurred to him that he would be older than his father was in this time. Or how completely confused Kes would be at being summoned to talk with several of the higher ups and a man who looked far too much like him. They all watched the holo, a noticeably older Kes Dameron, telling them they needed to trust Poe, about him being in the Resistance and trusted completely by Leia. He hadn’t told his father or the others why they needed to record their messages, just to talk about why they trusted him. They at least learned from their mistake, Kes had to brought into the loop as he watched an older version of himself call Poe son, the others simply activated their holograms and left.
“So you really are from the future?” Mothma said after watching several. “I’m still finding this difficult to believe but this seems like too much effort for it to be a lie. Especially since Draven told us how you arrived.”
“Yes,” he said in exasperation. “I will tell you everything I can but for now can I finally see Rey?”
He was lead to medical, the two senators staying close by. He knew his father had questions, but it would have to wait. He’d been sent away for the moment but he would have to tell him something. He wanted to see her with his own eyes, from what they had understood, Rey should have stayed in the future. The notes had said she would be drained, not make the trip with him. It was definitely her lying on the bed, pale and sweaty but she was here too. The doctors couldn’t understand what was wrong with her, she was in decent health other than signs of malnutrition. That was easily explained from her life on Jakku but he had no idea what to tell them. This was something they hadn’t planned for. They’d expected her to die not some unexplainable coma and traveling back into the past. He barely even had time to get to know her, she had been more Finn’s friend than his but he couldn’t help the feeling of responsibility. They had just started to really become friends, thrown together all the time because of Finn and Rose. The situation now reminded him far too much of waiting for Finn to wake up but that was due to injuries. Even if he told the doctors the truth, they couldn’t do much. No one had time traveled as far as he knew. Let alone been the power source to make it possible. So he sat with her, telling the two people with him what to expect in the near future.
At least they listened this time, starting preparations for the attack that would start soon. Sure the rebels had won originally but they had thought the war was over. He made sure that delusion was done away with quickly. If things went as they did in the past, the Death Star would be here shortly after Leia’s arrival. They would need pilots, Scarif had just happened so he volunteered. They looked reluctant at accepting his offer but he couldn’t go home, so he might as well carry on as he had in his former life. He had lots of time to think while in his cell. If they let him out, he couldn’t just go off and live a normal life. What if he fell in love with someone or had kids? What if they were supposed to be with someone else and their kids were important. He would be bored out of his mind hiding out on some outer rim planet waiting to die. At least here he could be helpful, die for a reason. He might even luck out and still be born. A different Poe Dameron who would never hear of the First Order, Snoke and Kylo Ren.
They finally agreed once Leia arrived. It was hard to believe she had ever been this young. She was the same damn age as Rey was but he could still see the woman she would become later. Her holo was much longer than the others, mentioning that she was sacrificing her best pilot was what finally did it. They didn’t really have a whole lot of time to talk anyways, the Death Star was going to be here soon. He knew there was another long talk in his future, Leia wasn’t the type to let something go. She was going to grill him the first chance she got, she’d done nothing but stare at him curiously since they watched the message.
So he was given a flight suit and made damn sure Skywalker got one too. He had some friend vouch for him being a decent pilot so it wasn’t too hard. The part he hadn’t been prepared for was seeing his mother. He hadn’t seen her for more than 20 years but his father had obviously said something. She was starring at him in complete awe, he was pretty sure he was doing the same thing. He wanted to talk to her but there wasn’t time, and he wasn’t sure what he could say. His parents weren’t stupid, they might have already figured out too much. Dad had made a holo but she hadn’t, that already implied something. He might just need to change his plan, suddenly the outer rim didn’t look so bad. How exactly was he supposed to say he had missed her since she died?
The fight happened as it should have, Luke Skywalker destroying the massive base. The adrenaline high of being in an X-wing again crashed almost as soon as he landed, Rey standing there was a complete shock but a good one. She still didn’t look well but at least she was awake. He pulled her into a hug as soon as he was close enough, maybe he wouldn’t be completely alone in this after all.
She was glad for the hug, waking up in a strange place surrounded by strange people had been terrifying. The doctor had informed her where she was but she couldn’t understand it. She was supposed to have died not gone into the past. It had taken them telling her Poe was here too to calm her down. A woman had escorted her to Leia at least once she’d asked about her, she was the closest thing to a familiar face since Poe had decided he needed to be Poe and try and get himself killed.
So when the battle was over she had followed Leia to the hanger, getting over the shock of seeing Han and Luke alive and well. And both being ridiculously young and happy. She wanted to run to Han, talk to Chewbacca but the truth stalled her. They had no idea who she was, Leia’s curiosity had been enough to remind her of that. So she held Poe tighter, he was truly the only friend she had in this world.
She needed to tell someone, the others here wouldn’t understand. “Something’s wrong with me,” she said quietly into his shoulder.
He pulled away, looking her over. “We should get you back to medical,” Poe replied, worry evident. “We don’t know what that thing did to you, but you should take it easy.”
She shook her head. “I’m not sick,” she said. “They can’t fix what’s wrong. I understand what the notes meant by me being drained. I can’t feel the Force anymore.”
She only knew a few of the people in the room, but she was sure she wasn’t the only confused one. The younger Han Solo looked ready to run, talking in the corner of the room with a Chewbacca who looked the exact same. She’d spent time with Leia in the control room but seeing a smiling happy Luke Skywalker was still incredibly strange. Kes looked like himself (well younger but the same) and the woman he was with had the same thick curly hair as Poe, she had to assume the woman was his mother, Shara.
The evacuation was over, they were aboard one of the cruisers. The commanders all seemed to want to grill Poe about the future now that they finally believed him. Someone had asked for some medical test, even his advanced knowledge hadn’t been enough but the test had proved Kes Dameron and Shara Bey were in fact his parents, even if he was older than both of them. Now Poe was the most wanted person in the Rebel Alliance. She’d barely seen him, still trying to adjust to the feeling of not feeling. She spent most of her time in the small room she had been given. With the hectic rush over and the Alliance away from Yavin it was now time to finally discuss why they had come back.
Poe finally entered the room, several of the leaders with him. He looked tired, but he managed to smile at her when he saw her. She wasn’t entirely sure why she was here, she didn’t know the kind of details he did about the war. Perhaps they all just assumed she knew what had happened as well and had been giving her time to recover. Or maybe it was time to finally tell certain people about their personal futures.
Mon Montha called the meeting to order, everyone quieting down. “I’m sure you’d all like to know why you’ve been summoned,” she addressed the room. “I’d like to introduce Commander Poe Dameron of the Resistance, an organization that is similar to ours if I understand correctly. The rather unbelievable part but we’ve verified what we could is this organization does not yet exist. Commander Dameron and his associate have not been born yet. The future we’ve been fighting for is again in jeopardy and they were sent back in time to correct certain events, to stop their own bleak future.”
“You seriously expect us to believe this guy is from the future?” Han spoke up from the back of the room. “How in the hell can you verify something like that. It all just sounds a little crazy to me.”
Poe looked over at the woman next to him. “Mr Solo,” she replied evenly. “Both of the Commanders parents are sitting in this room, we triple checked the results. He has information that even I wasn’t aware of, he knew about the destruction of Alderaan and tried to warn us to evacuate and then there’s the matter of their arrival. The witnesses all said the same thing, they appeared out of nowhere. So as I said, we verified as much as we were able and we are willing to hear what he has to say. The people in this room are either vital to the Alliance or he informed us they should be present for this discussion as they will be vital to the future.”
“Yeah okay, I’ll pretend I buy this from the future garbage,” he said condescendingly. “Then why am I here?”
“Because General Solo,” Poe answered with a smirk, “you’re one of the people who are vital in the future.” Poe dug into his pocket, pulling something out and sliding it across the table.
She watched Han walk forward to retrieve the holo chip. “And what am I supposed to do with this?” he asked somewhat annoyed.
“Give it to Chewie,” Poe said simply.
Chewbacca looked confused but took it. The chip activated and they allowed the message to play. It was short but she was probably the only person in the room who understood what the Wookiee was saying other than Han. The two were having a rapid fire discussion so Poe walked over to her, leaning down. She felt slightly bad but they needed to convince Han of what they were saying. She translated Chewie’s side quietly for him. It wasn’t much help, Chewie was more confused about the fact that he knew he hadn’t recorded it.
He finally turned back to the group, anger written on his face. “There’s no way I’d let you fly the Falcon,” he huffed. “And why the hell would Chewie care about Princess bossy’s opinion and someone named Kes. We don’t know a Kes.”
Kes raised his hand causing Han’s eyes to widen as he looked back and forth between him and Poe. Poe smirked again, looking far too amused. “Starting to catch on?” he asked rhetorically. “So if you’re done, some of us have things to do so our friends don’t all die horrible deaths in a few decades.”
Han grumbled but went back to leaning against the wall in back. Poe went on to explain the world they had left briefly. He explained about the First Order, the Supreme Leader, the advances in their technology and the basic similarities and differences between them and the Empire. He was interrupted frequently with questions but he tried to keep the Alliance’s future vague. All he would say is they would win the war but the final battle was years away. He didn’t want to interfere too much in what had happened originally, doing so might change the outcome of the war and make everyone’s future even worse. They had discussed this back at base with a very different Leia Organa, he would only step in if the Alliance was going to take an action they hadn’t in the original timeline.
The meeting seemed to drag on forever but they finally satisfied the official leadership. Now it was time to speak to the people they were actually here to talk to. Everyone left but the three they really needed to meet with. There was one addition, Bail Organa. She supposed he must know the truth or at least part of it. Leia has been rather insistent she know as soon as possible that Luke was in fact her brother.
She heard the complete story, Poe taking the lead with the senator filling in the blanks he didn’t know. Luke and Leia were rather shocked by the news, and Leia’s disgust and Luke’s confusion were apparent at learning who their biological father was. Bail could only say the Sith most likely didn’t even know of her existence, Vader had known he was to be a father but no one had known Padmé Amidala had been pregnant with twins. He spoke of the reason for their separation, Luke being under Jedi protection and the measures they had undergone to keep both children away from the man who had destroyed the Jedi. She could see Han getting restless, he had admitted to her, the older him, that the whole Jedi business had made him uncomfortable initially. Poe must have noticed it as well, moving the conversation on to why they were really here.
“So I guess that leads us to what we need to talk to the three of you about,” he spoke to the room. “You are the best people to stop the two Supreme Leaders from ever gaining power.”
“Look kid,” Han interrupted. “I’m just a smuggler. I’m not some General and I don’t know anything about this Force garbage. I can’t help you, I should be paying off Jabba the Hutt so I can get on with my life. You know who that is future boy?”
“Absolutely,” he replied. “My favourite story about him is the one where he gets strangled by your wife.”
She couldn’t help the giggle that escaped, she’d never seen someone look that shocked before. “I ain’t the marrying kind of guy,” Han said. “Sounds like my kind of girl though.”
“Well you do get married though it might be better if you don’t,” she replied. “Remember Kylo Ren? Now might be a good time to mention his real name is Ben Solo.”
“There’s no way I have a kid sweetheart,” he said turning to her. “And what’s your story? You this guy’s girlfriend or something?”
He gave her a wink and she could feel the burn of her cheeks, she definitely preferred the older Han Solo. “You might want to watch your mouth,” Poe said angrily. “She’s the last of the Jedi and one of the few people to beat your son in a fight. After he murdered you. And she’s pretty much the only other person your Wookiee completely trusts with your ship now that you’re dead.”
Chewbacca growled a warning. “Yeah I don’t understand, Rey and Leia have always needed to translate for me,” Poe said to him. “I’m just trying to get your buddy to understand. The easiest way to keep Kylo Ren from ever coming into power to keep him from being born. And since Ben Solo’s parents are in this room and his mother was the person who sent me back here, she more than agreed.”
“I marry him!” Leia shrieked indignantly. “My holo said I sent you back. There’s no way I would marry ... well him.”
“And there’s no way in hell I would marry her!” Han yelled back.
“I really must have died,” Bail moaned.
This was getting them nowhere. “Good then,” she interrupted. “Please don’t have children together, your son enjoys torturing and murdering people! I watched him kill you with my own eyes. You offered him a chance and he stabbed you for it! But you aren’t the Han Solo I met, not even close. We should just let him leave.”
“I’d love to but we need him,” Poe replied. “We can find someone else to lead the Pathfinders but we need Lando Calrissian first. Good thing dad told me what happened when the second Death Star gets destroyed.”
“Second Death Star?” Han asked incredulously. “Lando gets involved?”
“I told you the war isn’t close to done General,” Poe said staring him down. “So pick a damn side, your old buddy does.”
The conversation went on a little longer, bringing up other First Order targets they would need to deal with in the future. She could feel herself tiring and she was sure everyone else was too. They finally decided to break for the day, they wouldn’t be able to do much yet anyways. The Alliance had a war of their own to win first and Luke Skywalker was as trained now as she was. He wouldn’t be a match for Snoke, not yet.
They all rose to leave, but she found herself stopped by the man she had been thinking about. “You’re really a Jedi?” Luke asked hopefully. “You know about the Force?”
“A little,” she answered hesitantly. “I just found out I was a Jedi a few months ago and my ... teacher wasn’t much help.”
He looked disappointed at that. “Do you think your teacher might be able to help me?” he asked after a moment.
The laugher bubbled out of her. “Considering you were my teacher, I really don’t think so,” she said in parting.
Poe was waiting for her in the hall. After the complete strangeness of the last several days, she was more than happy to accept his offer of a quiet lunch together. The both filled up trays and took them back to her room, he said he was constantly fending off senators and generals wanting more information.
“I hope they get the point,” he said once they were in her room eating. “If I tell them everything they might just go around trying to change things and end up derailing every advantage we have. Instead of building at Endor the Emperor decides to build the Death Star somewhere else and no Ewoks helping out and we lose. Or going to some other planet instead of Hoth and they find the Alliance faster. Who the hell knows what else could go wrong?”
“I’m just worried if you die,” she replied. “I never learned half of the things you did growing up, I didn’t exactly go to school. I don’t think you should be flying anymore.”
“Everything is on my data pad,” he said soothingly. “I’ve been putting as much as I can remember down just in case. We can code it so only the two of us can use it. I didn’t expect to have a partner here with me but now we’ve got a better chance. I only knew Leia but you knew Luke and Han. Plus Chewie loves you, just do what you did last time and Solo will stick around.”
“I don’t think stealing the Falcon will work this time,” she laughed. “Luke and the ship aren’t missing so it would probably push him away not make him stay.”
“We’ll think of something,” he said with a grin. “We’ve got years to get things right.”
Well I think we don’t need to worry about Kylo Ren being born,” Rey said as Han and Leia argued openly.
“Yes we do,” he replied watching the two bicker back and forth. For the thousandth time.
Rey looked to the rest of the current audience. Kes and Shara (it was still so strange to call them anything but mom and dad) seemed to agree with him, they were looking at her strangely.
“But all they ever do is fight with each other!” she tried.
Shara gave her a pat on the back. “Rey,” she said slowly, “that’s not fighting, that’s flirting. Maker, Han Solo is even worse at it than you were Kes.”
Rey looked at him for confirmation, he was still the person she trusted most here. “Flirting,” he said, his face had to be showing his discomfort. “Really bad flirting but from what my dad said, this was how it all started.”
“So what do we do?” she asked hesitantly. “This was supposed to be the easiest fix but if they fall in love still, we don’t stop one of the most powerful Force users from being born. And they kriffing well know it!”
“Well we cant kill them,” he said jokingly. “Vasectomy?”
“Yeah, I’m not asking my brand new commanding officer to do that,” Kes said nervously. “I like being alive and you haven’t been born yet so I need to live. And I was not a bad flirt, we’re married after all.”
“Because I took pity on you,” Shara laughed. “You’re lucky you were pretty much the only man here who was my type. You’re terrible at it, and you obviously taught Poe how to, he’s awful it too.”
He went back to looking at the data pad, he had been hoping no one had caught on to his feelings for a certain ex Jedi. And of all people, it had to be his mother.
“So I die before you’re a teenager then?” she mused. “You know if you’d just tell us what happens if would be easier. And I might be there to teach you how to flirt. Properly.”
In the months since they’d been here, he’d gotten used to his mother’s assumptions. His dad hated the idea that she would die but mom was a pilot, she was used to the constant fear of death. It was years away and he had no idea if they could prevent it but the constant worry about saying something and having her die sooner made him keep his mouth shut. So she taken to hinting at his current crush to unease him. Even without her powers, Rey was still a force to be reckoned with. The mechanics were wowed by her, she was still able to fix just about any mechanical problem. She was a little hesitant about flying at first but she was still better than several of the experienced rebel veterans. She complained flying didn’t feel as natural anymore, sticking to the Falcon. The fact that she had completely known her way around the ship and had fixed some minor issue had convinced Han to trust her. Slightly anyways. Then there was the one time she tried out the lightsaber. It was the one she’d had in the future after all, even if it was now (or would be) in pieces. Luke kept pestering her for information no matter how many times she said she was untrained and no longer had her powers. She finally relented and demonstrated what she could do. She’d then handed it back to him saying it no longer felt like hers anymore and stayed away from it.
So she’d stuck closer to him, spending what time they weren’t working or planning away from most of the other rebels. Even those who didn’t have a clue who they were still seemed to know there was something off about the two of them. The resemblance to Kes and same last name was passed off as them being cousins but the little things like grumbling about (antiquated) tech, differences in expressions and a general lack of fear of the Empire seemed to make them outsiders. It didn’t help that they had almost instantly been accepted into the inner circle from the moment they appeared on base. They were basically thought of as very useful but kind of odd. Sure the other pilots liked him but everyone but those few who didn’t know the truth still seemed cautious. Rey seemed fine with it, she had lived most of her life in isolation but it had been a big adjustment for him. So he now seemed to spend the majority of his time with the younger version of the people he cared for the most and Rey.
So having feelings for the one person who he didn’t see as a parental figure made sense. Even if they were wary of him now, several others here were his childhood friends parents or people he had grown up with. The ideas he had come up in his cell still applied, he couldn’t just mess around with the unknown rebels either. So Rey was kind of his only option, at least that’s what he kept trying to tell himself.
He was knocked out of his thoughts by Rey’s laughter. “Thinking about this dream person?” she teased. “We’re here for a reason Commander. Wait, you’re a Captain again. I’m pretty sure Leia wouldn’t approve of that kind of activity from you either way.”
Gods, Leia. He had expected it, there was no way she wasn’t going to drag him off somewhere and interrogate him. It happened almost immediately once they’d left Yavin. He’d withstood torture at the hands of the First Order, survived a session with Kylo Ren but it didn’t compare to younger version of his former General. He’d kept his mouth shut, barely. She’d warned him before they had left but Leia had underestimated her younger self. He’d honestly been ready to tell her her life story until her father had saved him. Bail Organa was one of the few people she actually listened to.
“I wouldn’t approve of what?” the woman in question asked from behind Rey.
Rey turned quickly, facing the smaller woman. “Poe’s love life,” she answered quickly. Even though the woman before them now wasn’t their commanding officer, Rey still hadn’t gotten out of the habit of obeying her. Something the younger Leia loved to use to her advantage. Rey probably had gotten the same interrogation but her lack of knowledge must have discouraged her.
She starred him down, making him thankful she hadn’t had a chance to perfect the look yet. “I think we need a girls night. There’s entirely too many annoying men around here,” she said instead, pointedly not looking behind her at the man she had just been arguing with (but giving him a dirty look instead.)
He watched as Rey and his mother were pulled away by his mentor. “Now we’re in for it,” his father said with a pat on the shoulder.
He hated to admit when his father was right but they were definitely in for it. Things had been too quiet lately and everyone seemed to be taking advantage to blow off some steam. They got the call hours later. He arrived last, but was faced with an amused Kes and an exasperated Bail. They were both in the process of leading their respective relative back to their rooms while very obviously drunk. He was more than a little disturbed to see his mother and the second closest person to that position giggling hysterically. Until he realized he was the reason for their laughter. The two women were hardly subtle in this condition but at least he couldn’t hear their whispered conversation as they were ushered down the hall. He knocked on the door, still not entirely sure why he had been asked to come until a very happy, glassy eyed Rey jumped into his arms.
“You came,” she hiccuped.
“Didn’t get a whole lot of choice sweetheart,” he teased as he tried keep them both steady. “So how drunk are you right now?”
She nuzzled into his shoulder, her answer completely incomprehensible. It took three tries but he finally got her to repeat the answer so he could hear her. “Not sure,” she slurred. “Never been drunk before.”
Just karking wonderful. He convinced her to finally get down, walking her back to her own quarters. He found something for the inevitable headache and water to wash it down with. He was trying not to laugh at her but drunk Rey was far more talkative than a sober one. He had her drink all of the water before filling up the glass again, she was going to regret girls night in the morning. He convinced her to lay down, tucking her in before saying goodnight only to be surprised at the strength she still possessed as he was pulled down beside her.
“They said you would stay,” her face scrunched up in confusion.
“Who said I would stay?” he asked her.
“The girls!” she exclaimed as if it was obvious. “You’re supposed to stay so we can make out and stop the stupid ... tension. Your mom said so. You’re supposed to listen to your mom, Poe. At least I think you are, I don’t remember mine at all.”
He stared at her. “My mother said what now?”
“She asked if I liked you and told me you were dumb because you liked me,” she replied, not letting go of his arm. “So we’re supposed to kiss, right?”
He managed to free his arm, ignoring the whine she gave. “That didn't make a whole lot of sense but when you’re very sober and if you can remember this, we can talk about how dumb I am, I promise,” he said as he got up. “No drunk fooling around, that’s definitely not happening. Get some sleep, you’re going to feel like hell tomorrow.”
Two days later, a very embarrassed Rey showed up at his quarters. He didn’t need the rambling apology, he’d had his fair share drunken exploits. “No Poe,” she insisted. “I don’t remember much once you showed up but I vaguely remember calling you stupid and demanding well ...”
“A kiss?” he supplied.
Her normally pale skin was bright red. “Maybe,” she whispered. “I’m never drinking again. Ever. Especially with Leia and that Holdo woman.”
“Holdo’s here?” he sputtered. “Things just keep getting worse.”
Rey managed to finally look him in the eye. “You know her?” she asked curiously. “You don’t sound happy.”
He groaned as he turned away. “Just another screw up I need to fix if things don’t work out.”
He felt her hand on his shoulder. “Then we can fix it,” she said soothingly. “We can fix a lot of things still.”
He sat on his bed, face falling forward into his hands. “I just ... I didn’t expect this to be so hard,” he said softly. “There’s so much we need to stop and we don’t even know if it’s going to work. What if Skywalker can’t kill Snoke? What if Leia dies and the Resistance never gets founded if we need it? What if Han decides to take off anyways? I didn’t even think about her, she’s needed too if we can’t stop the First Order from forming. There’s just so much to remember and if I forget, we all die anyways.”
He felt the mattress shift, looking up at her as she sat beside him. “You can’t think like that Poe,” she replied. “They won the war without us here the last time, that’s not why we came. We need to stop Kylo and Snoke, anything else we do is just helpful. You can’t fix every little problem, you’ll go insane if you try.”
He was staring but he didn’t really care at this point. Rey simply looked back, any former embarrassment gone. “I don’t know what I’d do without you here you know,” he told her.
“You’d do what you’ve already done,” Rey replied. “I haven’t done anything useful.”
He turned towards her. “You’re the reason Han didn’t take off once I told them everything. You’re the reason Leia let me even come. Hell, you’re the reason I’m here in the first place,” he said angrily. “If you weren’t here I don’t know what I’d do. Everyone pretty much thinks we’re strange. I can’t have any kind of normal life even if we do stop the First Order. I’d end up completely alone if you weren’t here Rey. We were so busy thinking about what to change in the past and how it would affect the future we don’t even consider what the present would be like. I would go insane without you here.”
She laughed, falling back onto the mattress as she wrapped her arms around her stomach. He watched her in confusion, that wasn’t exactly the reaction he’d been expecting. She wiped away her tears, turning to lay on her side. “I’m sorry,” she said, still trying to stop her slightly hysterical laughter. “That wasn’t about you I swear, it just reminded me of something your mom said the other night.”
He stretched out beside her, eyebrow raised in question. “Well if you’re going to laugh at me after I kinda pour my heart out, I want an explanation,” he replied.
She was quiet for a moment, fingers playing idly with the blanket. “She just said we both have this habit of completely defending each other but never ourselves,” she finally replied. “I never thought about it but I guess we do. We really are alone in this, even if we do succeed. What are we supposed to do?”
He took her hand, she’d gone from tracing patterns to clutching the blanket tightly. “We hide out somewhere I guess,” he said as calmingly as he could. “When I was locked up I had nothing to do but think. I was just going to find some outer rim hole and stay there. At least we wouldn’t be alone since there’s the two of us.”
She gave him a brilliant smile. “And what would we do on this middle of nowhere planet that’s nothing like Jakku,” she teased.
“I wouldn’t set foot on Jakku again if you paid me, don’t worry,” he teased back. “We could both fly, I guess. Han started some shipping company originally, maybe we could work for him. We don’t have to hide, just stay out of the way. We can’t exactly stay on my dad’s farm if I end up being born, two Poe Dameron’s might just be worst than the First Order.”
She laughed again, the hysterical edge gone this time. “I still can’t picture you as a farmer,” she giggled.
“You’ve seen where I grew up Rey,” he said with a smile. “I had chores and everything. It just wasn’t what I wanted so I went to the academy.”
“Sounds nice I suppose,” she said somewhat sadly. “We can’t do much else, unless the First Order manages to form anyways. I’m not sure what else we can do but waiting around to die seems a bit morbid.”
“We can do whatever you want,” he supplied. “We can’t exactly be normal but we can figure something out. We’ve got years still.”
She looked a little startled at that. “Normal’s overrated. And if I have kids we might end up with another Kylo Ren on our hands,” she replied. “Or maybe not, I’m a Jedi with no powers now.”
“And I’m a reckless pilot who’s luck will run out,” he said with a grin. “Aren’t we a pair?”
Looking back on it, that was the moment it started. They were alone, even surrounded by people. He’d kissed her for the first time a few weeks later, after a mission had gone wrong. It had just seemed too easy falling into a relationship with Poe. Kes and Shara were acting like the proud parents they were, Han and Chewie were completely overprotective, Leia just seemed to smirk constantly while Luke seemed scandalized. But nobody but the two of them were surprised when they were married a year later. So she found herself having a last name for the first time in memory, another Dameron had joined the Alliance. They both hated needing to split up but it had made more sense for her be on the Falcon. Having an extra pilot and gunner when they got into trouble would ensure Han and Chewie’s survival just as much as Poe being an experienced pilot helped their squads. And keep an eye on Leia.
It hadn’t been easy, but they managed just as well as most of the couples on base. Poe’s biggest fear was Han deciding he should try his own hand at marriage but he and Leia just kept up their constant fights. Having her father hovering probably helped the situation. They didn’t worry too much yet. Not until Poe got sick.
Yep, this is insanely late but my life seriously sucks sometimes. But upside, I had an insanely productive day yesterday and finished chapters 5-7 and started 8 so I’ll have the rest of the story up soon.
So angst heavy chapter, I’ll fix it. I don’t do sad endings ;)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Their latest mission had gone well so it had been surprising being told to head to the medbay immediately after they landed. They rushed off, but she stopped suddenly when she entered, Kes barely managing to stop right behind her. Shara was already there, the worry easily apparent on her face. She finally looked up from her seat and motioned them over to the curtained off section she had been waiting beside. Kes went around her, arriving first to pull back the thin curtains. Poe was there, unconscious but not looking injured. She demanded an explanation but no one, not even the doctors could tell her what was wrong. All Shara could tell them was that he’d collapsed suddenly and they’d found nothing on their scans to explain it.
He recovered after a few hours, seeming completely normal. “Will you stop fussing, I’m fine,” he huffed once they’d arrived back at their quarters. “It’s probably just stress. I don’t know exactly what happened when they left Hoth and I’ve been worrying about it. All I know is we need Calrissian and we’re going to lose Han for a while. Plus Luke lost a limb fighting Vader. Too much happens there but I don’t really know the details. I should have gotten more information from Leia. She was more worried about how they got Han back.”
She gave him a quick peck. “I’ll be there with Han this time,” she replied. “And Luke knows the truth about his father, maybe things won’t go as badly this time.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t go with them,” he whispered as he pulled her to the bed. “What if he knows you’re different? Luke’s not exactly a Jedi master yet but Vader?”
“You are supposed to be relaxing Poe,” she said after a quick kiss to distract him. “The battle is still far away from what you’ve told me, stop thinking about what might happen and start thinking about how you’re going to make amends for scaring your wife.”
He gave her a grin. “Oh I can think of a few ways to make up for worrying my wife but I’m supposed to be relaxing,” he teased.
“Guess I need to do all the work then,” she replied as she straddled him.
Things went back to normal for a while but Poe recovered only to later complain of headaches and feeling faint again. It was sporadic, forcing Command to ground him as a precaution. He was completely fine one moment, only to almost collapse the next. It went on for weeks, the doctors having no idea what the cause could be. She tried to keep her worry to herself but she could see the strain in his face as well. But the mystery was solved when a second pilot needed to be grounded, having a fainting spell of their own. Shara’s illness was worrying, the doctors considering some new disease making the rounds of the pilots but she was in perfect health. She was just pregnant.
The few who knew the truth put the incidents together. The notes had said the person who travelled back couldn’t exist in the earlier time, and if Shara was pregnant, Poe Dameron was months away from being born. And they had no clue what the consequences were for the current Poe. He was little help to the rebellion at the moment, his sickness too unpredictable to do much of anything. He refused to be sidelined even with the doctors baffled at his deteriorating condition. There was nothing they could do, no medical solutions existed for what was happening. As Shara grew bigger, Poe grew weaker. So Poe was put on desk duty with his mother. He would be fine for weeks, only to get worse suddenly. She couldn’t help the dark thoughts that crept into her mind. She should have been with Han but she wasn’t going to leave Poe, not with the thoughts she’d been considering.
She was surprised the leadership didn’t make more of a complaint, they were now down two pilots and a soldier. She also had to assume they feared their connection to all of that future knowledge was about to be cut off. They’d managed to hide the fact that she actually knew very little about what was to come or they probably wouldn’t be bending over backwards for her. She was worried, if they ever found out the truth she’d lose this time with him. He really had put as much as he could remember down in the data pad, grilling her frequently about major historical events whenever he was feeling well enough.
So she tried not to think about it, but it was too much of a coincidence. The further along Shara was in her pregnancy, the worse Poe got. He was being typical Poe, joking around from his bed whenever it got bad enough for him to be completely sidelined, ignoring the worried looks from everyone around him. He was her husband though, she knew all too well when he was putting up a front. She tended to him as much as she could, she couldn’t stand the guilty looks in Kes and Shara’s eyes. No one had expected this, they had planned to just leave once the war was over. This was supposed to be the happiest time of their lives and instead the pair was thinking they were killing their own son.
It came to a head when the episodes became more frequent. No one wanted to say it out loud but they all seemed to be thinking it. Everyone had all crowded into their quarters, talking about everything but what was really on on their minds. The conversation halted as Shara huffed in annoyance, hand moving to her belly.
“Do you have to kick so kriffing hard?” she asked as she rubbed her ever growing middle.
“Sorry,” the bedridden Poe said. “I don’t have any control over that me.”
The room was quiet, it was the first time anyone had really acknowledged that the baby was in fact Poe. He sighed, hating the fleeting looks from everyone in the room. “Stop, everyone,” he said loudly. “We all know what’s going to happen, I’m sick of everyone pretending I’m going to get better. I’m going to die, we can’t get around that. So just look on the damn bright side, at least you don’t have to argue about names, you already know what to call the baby.”
Everyone seemed to disappear after he said that. “You aren’t going to die!” she screamed.
He tried to leave the bed but she pushed him back down. “You just need to rest, this is happening because you’re mom is pregnant,” she insisted. “Once the baby is born you’ll be fine.”
Poe sighed before pulling her closer. She went willingly, lying down beside him. “We don’t know what going to happen Rey,” he said quietly. “I think it’s better to prepare for the worst though.”
“I don’t want to do that,” she whispered. “I don’t know if I can do this alone.”
He brought her as close as possible, dropping a kiss to her forehead. “You’re not going to be alone,” he replied. “You’re going to have Leia and Han and Luke. My parents dropped me off with my grandfather not long after I was born so they’ll be back in the fight soon enough. You said it yourself, we just need to stop the big things. I’ll talk to Leia about Kylo and the other First Order Generals and you stick with Luke and make sure he can handle Snoke. It’s all we can do.”
“And I just accept that you’ll be gone?” she replied angrily. “You just get to give up?”
“We didn’t know this was going to happen but it is!” he replied. “It’s not like I forgot when my birthday is Rey, we’re running out of time. We need to stop pretending and do what we came here to do. What was the point to coming back if everything happens all over again? We get send back a second time and just keep repeating this over and over? We need to stop the First Order and I’m not going to be able to do anything if I’m in diapers so that means you need to.”
“How?” she said, tears threatening to fall. “You can make me memorize dates and names all you want, but I’m not the right person for this!”
Poe sighed. “You’re the right person, I believe that,” he said urgently. “You came with me, there had to be a reason for it. I’ve been thinking a lot. What if my mom never got pregnant? I might just disappear anyways if I’m never born. This had to happen. Skywalker has the hard part right? He’s the one who’ll need to defeat Snoke. Just stick with him, make sure he does his whole Jedi thing and doesn’t fly off to that planet again if things go wrong. I never met the guy before this, I just know some stories but you can keep him from being the cranky bastard you met, I know you can. I’ll talk my parents into keeping an eye on Han and Leia, they kinda owe me.”
She resisted the urge to shove him out of their bed, she needed him to be serious. “I don’t want to be alone again Poe,” she said quietly. “I need you.”
“There’s no way you’ll be alone, everyone loves you,” he replied. “It’s not what we planned but when have any of our plans worked the way we expected?”
He didn’t have much time left, he knew it. His mother was beyond irritable, stomach protruding for everyone to see. His birthday was less than a month away and he felt like a shadow was looming over him, waiting to drag him into the dark forever. He needed to talk to Leia, he needed to make sure. She needed to promise him something. If she agreed, there would be no need for a Ben Solo.
He’d been unconscious for days. She knew what today was, they would finally have an answer to what would happen. Shara had left the base a week ago, Kes going with her. Giving birth on Hoth wasn’t an option. She was probably in labour already, it was Poe’s birthday after all. Leia had been hovering, going back and forth between their quarters and her duties. She’d refused to have Poe moved, there wasn’t a damn thing the doctors could do. The privacy was better, she had no idea what to expect. No one could know. Han had taken to bringing her food, she refused to leave this room, not today. It sat untouched. She didn’t know what time it would happen, she wasn’t taking her eyes off of him for a second.
She had no idea what time it was when the door opened. Leia entered first followed by Han and Chewie with chairs. She kept her seat on the bed, not saying anything. “Kes got in touch,” Han said softly. “Shara’s, well, you know.”
She nodded, the grip on Poe’s hand tightening. The scrape of the chairs was more grating than it should be but she resisted the urge to snap at them. She knew they meant well, they didn’t want her to be alone. She honestly wasn’t sure what she would have preferred. All sense of time was lost to her, it could have been an hour or several when it happened. She’d watched people die, she seen her share of it on Jakku but nothing had prepared her for this. There was no rattling final breath, no eyes opening in terror. Poe Dameron simply vanished.
Runs and hides.
She could feel them watching her. See their pity. So the moment she’d felt the solid weight of his hand disappear, she’d gone on autopilot. Leadership needed to be told, Poe’s things needed to be sorted. She left it to others to tell his parents, she couldn’t face them, not yet. The anger seemed irrational but they had their own Poe now. So she threw herself back into the war, it was what Poe would have done. She reread his notes about the rest of their time on Hoth nightly, needing the distraction. She had to be prepared, she had to succeed.
The evacuation from Yavin had gone so well and she’d missed the evacuation from D’Qar, so the ensuing chaos took her by surprise. Things played out the same thought as she had read, Han and Leia joining her on the Falcon just in time to escape the Imperial forces, Luke thankfully already away. What the notes neglected to mention was the damn asteroid field and the giant monster. And she knew there were worse things to come. She was more prepared for what to expect when they reached Bespin at least, Poe’s constant grilling and her new nightly routine had sunk in. Maybe Luke knowing the truth would change things, maybe it wouldn’t, they would just have to see.
“So kid, where to?” Han asked once they’d evaded the Star Destroyers. She wanted to tell them they weren’t safe but she couldn’t change this, Lando was needed. Leia had to meet him. “You’re the one with the future knowledge.”
She rolled her eyes. He knew she and Luke hated the nickname. “Time to see Lando,” she replied evenly. This was one event she really hoped would be drastically different.
As annoyed as she had been with the younger Han, things had settled eventually. She was technically under his command, she had needed to join the Pathfinders if she was going to keep an eye on him. Leia was here so all she could do was hope Luke would follow his instincts, he was the one they held back the most information from. He would in close contact with both Vader and the Emperor, the less he knew about the future the better. Once they were dead, he would be critical but for now Luke accepted being mostly in the dark. She couldn’t help hoping that knowing Vader was his father would make his fight easier, if they lost him, Snoke would take over easily.
She knew she shouldn't interfere when they arrived, she’d had enough dealings with the dark side already, staying aboard ship to prepare for the worst. She’d had to hide herself when she heard the workers arrive to fix the Falcon, stowing away under the floors. Once they’d left, she did a quick systems check, finding a problem. She knew they were about to be betrayed, it was happening just like she’d been told. Han was frozen, Luke still lost his hand but Lando Calrissian was here so maybe things would be alright. Leia was distant, leaving her to care for Luke. Even after all these years, she still found it hard to believe this man was the same person she met in the future. He was probably in shock, quieter than normal so she gave him some time. Leia cornered her immediately after, she shouldn’t have been surprised.
“Did you know?” she asked angrily. “Did you know what would happen to him?”
Her worst fears were confirmed, even with the warnings, at least one of the pair had still fallen in love. “He’ll be alright,” she said instead of answering directly. “I know where he is, and he’ll be fine. Poe told you he’d be there for the second Death Star, that hasn’t happened yet.”
“He was tortured!” Leia hissed. “We could hear him screaming!”
She could almost feel the blood draining from her face. “I didn’t know about that, I swear,” she insisted.
“But you knew about the capture?” she yelled.
“What’s going on?” Lando said as he entered the room. “How could anyone know what was going to happen?”
She haltingly explained her story, watching the man’s eyes widen as she went on. She didn’t want to relive this now, at least Leia added what she could, but it was a little hard to prove she was from the future at the moment. She hadn’t read that far ahead yet but told them both a little of what she knew about Han’s situation, assuring them both that he would be fine. Leia obviously didn’t trust the man, Chewy didn’t either. All she had to go on now was what her husband had told her. Poe had said he was more important than Han, at least as far as the Resistance was concerned, so she would protect him somehow. She knew Leia was still furious and Lando confused but there was little else she could do. She needed Poe’s notes.
She grabbed the datapad, trying to find anything that mentioned the man. It was in some kind of order that had made sense to Poe but it was just another thing they hadn’t had time to talk about. He’d been gone for almost a year now and it still felt too fresh. All she read so far was Lando had supplied the Resistance, he had been Leia’s friend.
Leia was still in disbelief. “Why would I ever trust him?” she asked mockingly. “He sold us out!”
She took a deep breath, she hoped what Poe had told her would work. “Do you remember when we first arrived? How we were willing to let Han go?” she asked. Leia nodded quietly in reply. “I’m not an expert, I didn’t grow up like most people do but Poe told you we needed Lando. We needed him more than Han. I know he’s important somehow, just wait until we met up with everyone, I’m sure I can find something in the notes.”
Leia seemed to accept her answer, going to check on her brother. The man before her looked nervous. “I had to protect my people,” he said quietly. “I thought I could protect them and your friends by turning in Han. Once Vader told me he was going to take Chewy and Leia, I tried to fix things, I swear I did.”
“It’s not me you need to convince,” she replied. “You’re her friend in the future. At least I think you are. I’m sure they’ll come around, she’s worried about Han and Luke and Chewy is, well he’s Chewy.”
He nodded in response, turning to go back to the cockpit. “If it makes you feel better, my best friend was a stormtrooper,” she called out. “Leia learned to trust him so there’s hope for you.”
He gave her a smile, turning to leave again. Maker, she hadn’t thought about Finn in a while. Months of relative quiet to think about what she had lost and now there was too much going on. She’d pushed her thoughts of her lost friends away. Rose and Finn wouldn’t be born for years if they ever were and Poe, she still didn’t know what to think. They’d been lucky so far, not much had changed as far as she knew. But Bail Organa had survived, allowing Leia to take a smaller role in the leadership of the Alliance. They had talked about it to themselves, before anyways, wondering if that had been a mistake. Nothing could be done now, if everything went according to plan, Leia would never need to lead the Resistance. But he had been right, their plans didn’t always seem to work out right.
The flight to the rendezvous point was tense but the small group arrived safely. They needed to take Luke to medical, he was stable but he needed to be seen. She wanted nothing more than to rest, pour over her last connection to Poe but she knew Luke and Han needed to be the priority.
She was still uncomfortable with Kes and Shara, any mention of their son making her walk away. She knew it wasn’t their fault but she missed him. She didn’t know much about children but Poe would barely be able to walk and talk by now. And if the changes they had planned worked, the small boy might never be the man she had loved. And even if he did become that man, nothing would ever come of it. Poe Dameron might be alive, but the person she had loved was gone. She just wasn’t ready to give up the memory of her husband, so the small child and his parents were getting the blame. It was unfair but true.
She double checked her notes before finding Chewy and Lando. The rescue plan was detailed for once, but the timeline, it would be a while before they would be able to put it all together. But for now, all they needed was a name and they were preparing to leave. She hugged the Wookiee tightly, this was the only part of her life that felt normal anymore before going to find the twins. Leia was with her brother already when she arrived, datapad in hand. She knew the big events but she had wanted to avoid the same trap as when they had first arrived, she kept from reading too far ahead in Poe’s notes. Leia was still angry with Lando. And her. She wanted to reassure the woman. Luke was awake, a new hand already being fitted. She gave him a smile, leaving the siblings alone with their trusted droids as they walked to the large window. She found a chair and began reading.
She wished Poe was here, he would have loved the tiny, death bears. Much more useful than porgs.
It was strange being back on Jakku. The landscape she had known so well looked completely different yet entirely the same. The ships she had spent her life scavenging were still smoking and occupied in some cases, not the gutted hulls she was used to. She hadn’t wanted to set foot on the planet again but Han and Leia had insisted. The New Republic had won but this was the starting point. Their battle was over officially, hers was just beginning. She knew some of the Imperials had gotten away. It was how the First Order had begun.
They didn’t question her as she landed at a seemingly random spot. The AT-AT wasn’t partially buried yet but it had been her home for so long she couldn’t do anything but recognize it. She left the Falcon, walking over with her blaster raised in case. It was empty thankfully, the occupants must have left, most likely dead or dying in the sands far from here. She patted the hull affectionately, it was the first home she had really had, that she remembered at least.
The couple looked at her strangely but she ignored it as usual. Things were going well by her standards, the notes she had stated Leia had been pregnant at this time. The woman’s flat belly was all she needed to see, Ben Solo would never exist. She had been worried when they had won at Endor, the two had finally managed to come to some sort of an arraignment but they had seemed to take the words to heart. They were married, but she hoped they would avoid having children. So far, so good.
Leia rolled her eyes. “Will you stop that?” she asked in a huff.
“Stop what?” she replied.
“We talked about it,” Leia replied, “ all three of us. There will be no Skywalker children. Not from me or Luke. We made sure it would never happen, permanently. Han and I will adopt when the time is right.”
She hadn’t realized she’d been so obvious. “Sorry,” she said, her face heating up and not from the desert heat.
“Now, let’s talk about this First Order of yours,” Han said. “And why the hell you’re fondling a damn walker.”
And more angst (sorry, not sorry) but hey Poe!
If someone had told her she would enjoy spending years hunting down Jedi and their artifacts with Luke Skywalker after her abrupt departure from Ahch-To, she would have thought they were insane. And yet here she was, doing exactly that. Han and Leia had offered to continue tracking down the names from her list, Bail Organa’s survival had meant Leia didn’t need to join the Senate immediately. So she had taken Poe’s suggestion, sticking close to Luke. They found little trace of Snoke but many potential Jedi on their travels. She watched them all closely, knowing any one of them could be a future Knight of Ren. When one of them started withdrawing for no reason, she knew that he had started his campaign. They finally had their clue.
She kept watch over all of them, Luke disappearing for months at a time. She tried to teach them what she could, she still didn’t know much about the Force but she could fight. One particular stretch went so long, she was starting to lose hope he’d come back, a worry she shared with Han and Leia but it turned out to be unfounded. It had taken time to track the man down but Snoke was defeated. All that was left was to stop the remaining Imperials and the future was secured. So they continued together, sometimes togther, usually separately in search of anything remotely connected to the former Jedi Order. When Luke arrived back from one trip carrying a familiar object, she couldn’t help the shudder.
“That’s it,” she said quietly. “That’s the artifact that brought us here.”
Luke stared at it, staring like it was a puzzle to be solved. “Do you know what I did with it originally?” he asked.
“You gave it to your sister,” she replied quickly. “That and the notes for it.”
“Well at least we know it works,” he said with a shrug. “Maybe I should hold onto the notes this time, you can add to them since you used it.”
Her throat felt dry but she managed a small nod. It was a good idea, just in case.
She was visiting Han and Leia when it happened, she couldn’t believe she had forgotten. It had been years since she had seen them, Poe’s death had been too fresh then. Kes and Shara had left the service before she had, wanting to build their life with their son. She knew the others kept in contact but her anger had turned to guilt. Now Shara was gone, she’d never get to make it up to her. But there was someone else she could try to make amends to.
The farm was smaller than in the future, everything looking newer. She’d been on edge since they’d boarded the Falcon, unsure what Kes’ reaction would be. And seeing Poe. Han, Leia and Chewy walked towards the house but she lingered on the ship, too unsure of her welcome. She detoured around the house, wanting more time. She’d only been there the once but she remembered where it was. She couldn’t feel it like the last time but there was something, like a hum, leading her onward. What she hadn’t expected was for someone else to already be there.
Her chest felt like it was being ripped open, even at eight, he was completely recognizable. The same mop of curly hair, the large dark eyes, he was all Poe. He was sitting back against the trunk, one hand occasionally reaching up to wipe furiously at his eyes. She didn’t want to move, afraid to disturb him. She had to keep reminding herself that this boy didn’t know her at all, she’d never seen him in person. She doubted Kes and Shara had even mentioned her, it would be a little difficult to explain to a child. She started to back away but of course he noticed her. He gave his eyes one last wipe before jumping to his feet, moving to wipe the dirt off his pants.
“Who are you?” he asked, the all too familiar bravado was already a trait, it seemed.
“My name’s Rey,” she answered quietly. “I knew ... I knew your mother.”
He gave a sniff, tears still threatening to fall. “Then why aren’t you at the house with the other grownups?”
She couldn’t admit the truth, that was too complicated. “I wanted to see the tree again,” she said instead. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been here.”
He tilted his head, staring openly. “I don’t remember you,” he said in reply.
That hurt. Some part of her had been hoping he might, impossible as it was. She wasn’t sure how to answer, she didn’t want to lie but was there really a choice? She was saved from her dilemma by a harsh shout. She didn’t understand the words but the boy in front of her did, Poe scrambled off towards the house. She turned to watch, regretting it immediately. Kes was standing there, the anger plain as day on his face. He watched his son until he was out of sight before marching over to her.
“Do you hate us that much!” he hissed. “You couldn’t have warned me this was going to happen?”
She needed a minute to get over the shock, she’d only ever seen him angry once before. Another time, literally, sneaking away into the night. “I thought you knew,” she finally managed to squeak out.
“But you were supposed to change things!” he yelled back. “You were supposed to make it better!”
“Poe never told me what happened!” she exclaimed. “He never told me anything about how Shara died, just that he was still a kid. I didn’t know when or how, he didn’t put it on the datapad. I would have told you if I knew!”
“Would you?” he replied harshly. “You’ve never been here once! You haven’t talked to us in years!”
She could feel her own anger starting to rise. “I lost my husband Kes!” she yelled back. “I felt him leave! I didn’t even get a body to bury! Instead I got a baby, a child who will grow up but never be him. I was allowed to be angry but I would never punish you for that. I wouldn’t punish him for it.”
His anger seemed to deflate, Kes’ body hunching in on itself. “That’s why you stayed away?” he asked.
She laughed bitterly. “Imagine knowing that there’s another Shara out there right now. One that will grow up looking exactly like her. That could grow up to be her. And you can never have her back. What would you do?”
Kes was silent a long time. “I don’t know,” he said finally. “I’d hope to know she was doing okay thought.”
She wasn’t sure how she was talked to into it, but the yearly visits began after that. Luke has done his part, but there were other targets left. So she went back with Han and Leia, making the move permanent. Which meant seeing Kes more often, even if it was by holo. That of course lead to the invitations. Han and Leia always went to see Poe for his birthday and now she was dragged along. So watching the man she had married grow up was a little strange but Kes has been right, knowing he was okay did help.
She watched as more familiar traits started appearing, the compassion, the recklessness, and the inability to keep his mouth shut. No matter what they had changed, somethings seemed destined. She was fairly certain the 12 year old Poe Dameron had a crush on her. Her arrival at the farm had been met with nothing but blushes, stammering and avoiding her gaze. It was strange seeing her former husband being so shy, the adult Poe had been far better at this. It would have been cute if she wasn’t trying so hard to hide how much pain she was in. She was a bit upset that the older Poe had lied to her. He hadn’t told her how much this hurt.
Kes poured her a drink once Poe had gone to bed. She’d made her visit early this year, the man had to know something was going on. “I can do math you know. It’s started for you hasn’t it?” he asked once he’d taken a sip of his own drink.
She wanted to play it off, deny and just say she was busy but Chewy had come with her, a precaution Han and Leia had insisted on. She kept fainting. She gave him a nod in reply.
“When’s your birthday?” Kes asked. “And what do you want me to tell him?”
“I don’t know,” she said simply. He raised his eyebrows at her. “I don’t know when I was born. I don’t know where, who my parents are. I never expected this to happen to me, I just figured I’d keep living this life.”
It was true. The first time she had fainted, she assumed it was exhaustion. They’d found some higher up from the list but they couldn’t agree on what should be done with him. He was still young and hadn’t committed the atrocities he would if the First Order formed. But he hadn’t exactly had a normal childhood either. Too many late night meetings had seemed the most likely cause. But when it kept happening, and the headaches started, she knew what was the real cause. Somewhere in the galaxy, her mother had gotten pregnant. With her.
“He’s going to be heartbroken you know,” he chuckled mirthlessly. “I’m sure you’ve noticed.”
“I’m in my thirties Kes,” she replied dryly. “It never would have worked out anyways. He’ll forget about me, I’ve only really seen him once year for the last few years. Talked to him a few times a year by holo. He’ll move on soon enough.”
“Maybe,” he replied noncommittally. “But I do need to tell him something. He’s had enough loss already.”
“I’ll talk to him.”
She found him where she expected, sitting on his favourite branch. Normally she would join him but the last thing she wanted was to have a dizzy spell and fall. She sat up against the trunk, exactly like he had been the first time she saw (this) him. She waited patiently, he would come down soon, he was never good at waiting.
“You going to tell me why you came now? My birthday isn’t for months,” he said once he’d taken a seat in front of her.
She’d thought about it all night, trying to decide what to tell him. “I have a new mission, I have to go away for a long time,” she replied as evenly as she could. The lie was best, he needed to live his life.
He cocked his head. “How long?”
“Years probably,” she answered. “I don’t know when I’m going to be able to come back. So I wanted to give you your present now.”
He’d seemed to have gotten over the initial awkwardness from when she’d first arrived or the thought of presents overrided it. He held out his hand eagerly, no trace of the shyness from yesterday. She rolled her eyes, he definitely wouldn’t outgrown this. She placed the white box in his outstretched hand, nervous about the gift she’d chosen. He pulled the lid off immediately, the confusion written all over his face.
“I knew someone a long time ago, he was really important to me,” she said, trying to explain. “He had a chain just like that, so he could keep a piece of his family with him all the time. I thought you could put your mother’s ring on there, so you could kept it with you and not lose it.”
She knew she was changing history, Poe had explained how he’d gotten the necklace but she wanted to be selfish. This way he could carry a part of her with him always, even if no one else would know or understand. The original had disappeared with him but she had found one similar enough years ago, placing her own wedding ring on it. If she was going to die, that ring would be on her finger. She didn’t need the chain any longer.
“Thanks Rey,” he said as sombrely as a boy of 12 could manage. “I like that idea. I won’t ever take it off.”
“Ahh, Commander? Your type, checking you out at 2 o’clock,” Muran said jokingly.
He rolled his eyes. It had become a bit of a joke in Rapier squadron, Poe’s apparent interest in older women. He wasn’t about to explain it to them, they wouldn’t understand. If they wanted to think that, what did he really care? Arana snickered but Karé shut them both up quickly with one sentence. “That’s senator Organa you idiots!” she hissed.
He turned completely, wanting to confirm what she said. He’d hadn’t seen her in years but there was no mistaking it, Leia Organa was here in front of him. Walking right towards them. He straightened himself out, tugging on his uniform to hide any wrinkles. It had to be a coincidence, they weren’t even supposed to be in the Hosnian system but a bad run in had forced the entire squad to return to Fleet headquarters.
“Hello Poe,” her deep voice sounding far more aged than he remembered.
“Senator,” he managed to say evenly.
“I know it’s been a while but it’s still just Leia,” she replied dryly. He tried to no fidget, she was staring at him intently. He really hadn’t seen her for a while, since he was a teenager. When her father had died, she’d joined the senate and her visits with her husband had come to an end. “Do you have plans tomorrow?”
“Nope,” Iolo supplied unhelpfully. “We’re all off for weeks ma’am.”
“Good,” she said with a smile. “You’re coming for dinner.”
Good, maybe I can finally get a straight answer.
The unfamiliar bedroom was intimidating, the strange clothes worrying. But the headache was worse. He was going to kill them, whatever he’d drunk last night was giving him the worst hangover ever. Everything felt fuzzy, he was impressed he could remember his own name. Wherever he was, they’d at least left his clothes, folded neatly nearby. He changed slowly, the pounding starting to recede slightly. He left the bedroom, walking towards the soft murmur of voices. He was definitely going to kill his squad mates. Whatever the hell they had gotten into last night, it was all a blur. But instead of seeing them, he saw another familiar trio, and everything rushed back.
What the hell were you supposed to wear to dinner with a senator, a Jedi and war hero anyways? He hadn’t exactly packed much, it was supposed to be time off to explain to command about the increase of pirate activity in his sector and some upgrades to their ships. But Leia had said it would be just family so he went with what was cleanest and hoped for the best. He could survive one weird night with relative strangers. He was pretty sure his dad still kept in touch with them, so the invitation made sense he guessed.
He arrived at their home shortly before 1700, not wanting to arrive too early. He was still nervous, but if his father wouldn’t or couldn’t tell him the truth, maybe these three people would. The elevator was quick, the building they lived in looked more expensive than anywhere he had ever set foot in. He felt completely out of his element but he wanted answers, twenty years was a long time to wait.
Han answered the door, it was still jarring but it really had been a long time since he’d seen the man. Of course they both had aged since he’d last seen the Solos. “Hey kid,” he said with a lopsided smile. “You look ...”. The man trailed off, looking away. He had the feeling he was missing something.
“Older? Better looking?” he supplied.
“Still a smart ass, glad that didn’t change,” he chuckled. “We’re still waiting on Luke and ... my daughter. Shouldn’t be too long.”
He hadn’t met her either, she’d been adopted after Leia had joined the senate. They had kept her away from the limelight, all most people knew was she was part of the reason for Leia’s more unpopular motion to finally start adding the outer rim planets into the New Republic. It had worked, some Imperial remnants had tried to start an uprising while living on the fringes. It had failed spectacularly, it was almost like the fleet had been waiting for it. She’d argued that it would never have been able to happen if the outer rim was watched (and patrolled) more closely. And it would finally put an end to a few other nasty lines of trade. Like the one her daughter had been forced to be a part of. The motion had passed, but not by much. Years later, some of the core planets were still whining about it.
He wanted to ask now, but it would be easier if all three of them were here. The daughter was an obstacle but maybe her being here would make them cooperate just to shut him up. Han set him up with a drink and went back to the kitchen, Leia finally coming out to greet him. It felt more like an interrogation than small talk but for such a tiny woman, he knew getting her angry would be a bad idea.
He was itching to ask, he wanted to know what had happened to her, when he heard the door open. He’d never met Skywalker but the robes were a dead giveaway. What he wasn’t expecting was her. Rey was here, alive and impossibly young. Did she leave to have a kid? Is that why she never came back? She finally noticed him, eyes squinting in confusion. The last thing he remembered was seeing those eyes widen before Luke caught her around the middle, then everything went black.
“Where is she?” he demanded, ignoring the renewed pounding in his skull.
It must have been obvious he wasn’t quite with it, Han rushing over. “Sit down before you fall on your ass,” he insisted, herding him towards the table they were sitting at. “You’ve been sleeping for almost two days.”
Two days? His head started to throb harder, the groan he gave was involuntary. He was ushered into a chair, the smell of food hitting him as Han pushed a plate in front. He needed an answer but his stomach complained loudly. “Eat kid,” he said as he poured a glass of juice. “We can explain.”
“Head hurts,” he croaked, grabbing the juice and draining it.
The three shared a look. Leia mumbled something before getting up, returning a few minutes later with a painkiller. He finished his meal, the headache finally manageable enough to think. “Where’s Rey?”
“Still sleeping. I checked on her when I was up,” Leia supplied. “It will take longer for her.”
“What will take longer?” he demanded.
“Remembering a very different life, I kept my promise Poe,” she said simply.
He had to trick her but he didn’t want Rey to know. He wanted to talk to Leia privately, he didn’t know how she’d react to this request. He was going to die, he was going to leave her. He’d had a normal childhood, he would probably have it again. He could do the same for her.
“You want me to what?” she asked incredulously once he’d finished talking.
“If this is happening to me, it could happen to her,” he replied. “If it does, you need to adopt her. She grew up on Jakku, completely alone, scavenging to survive. And if we stop the First Order, she’ll die there this time. She’s a Jedi, I know she isn’t one now but she will be. You need to take her, get her away from all of that. I’ll have my parents but she ends up with no one until she meets up with the Resistance. Which might never exist now.”
She tried to start again but he interrupted. Leia was going to promise, he’d make her. He didn’t have enough time for anything else.
He sat there anxiously, waiting for them to explain. They’d found the stupid chunk of metal again, and Luke actually knowing it worked translated the notes, all of them. There were far more than the instructions, theories about what could happen if the artifact was used. Including what could happen to the users. If only he’d done that the first time around, he could have saved them all a lot of stress. They would have known it was talking about taking her powers, not necessarily killing her. And they would have known they’d remember. Everything. All they needed was the right trigger.
“You knew this would happen?” he asked incredulously. “You kept us apart on purpose!”
“Well he had two theories, this or something along the lines of your brains melting,” Luke said sheepishly. “We thought it would be better to keep you two apart. Your father included.”
“You’re the one who wanted us to adopt Rey,” Leia added. “That meant it was our job to protect her. We weren’t going to risk her being a child with adult memories. She was around the age you are now when she vanished.”
“What do you mean she vanished?” he asked.
“You two didn’t die,” Han said. “Me and Leia were there both times. You went unconscious for days then just disappeared into thin air.”
“You didn’t belong,” Luke added. “You weren’t part of the natural order. So when you were both born, the old you front your timeline merged with the new you. You just needed something to spark the memories again. Like seeing each other again. After it had happened to both of you.”
Leia huffed. “Of course, we didn’t find that out until we’d already taken Rey in,” she added. “Another reason why we decided to keep you two away from each other. Rey told us about growing up on Jakku, she showed us even. There was no way we would leave her there after hearing about her life but when Luke finished translating, we’d already changed everything. We couldn’t send her back to that hellhole, so we just made sure you never met.”
His head was beginning to hurt again. “So why now then?” he asked. “If you were all so worried we’d get hurt, why let us met?”
“Because Rey was supposed to be with me the day I ran into you,” Leia replied. “Can you imagine what would have happened if we had and you both collapsed in public? At least this way if something went wrong we could control it.”
“Okay, probably a good call,” he muttered. Having his head explode for the world to see would be bad. “Can I see my wife now?”
Han looked ready to argue but Leia settled him with a look. He’d been overprotective before, it had to have gotten worse if Rey was his daughter now. Some of his memories seemed muddled, like two things happening at once but completely different. But his memories of going back in time were crystal clear right now, he didn’t care what anyone said, Rey was his wife.
Leia led him back towards the bedrooms, opening the door across from where he’d woken up. She was obviously dreaming, eyelids fluttering. He hesitated at the door, now that he had finally seen her, he wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do. The clearest memories he seemed to have right now were the ones from the last few weeks of his time in the Resistance and of the past, probably because they weren’t doubles. He was older than he was now, leaving him to wonder what would happen as he got older. All he knew now was he could remember when the two of them got together, their wedding, the life they had planned. But what if it wasn’t the same for her? She’d lived more than a decade after he’d gone and he had no idea what had happened in that time. He remembered the first time he’d met her, well both first times, but the one when he’d been a child was vivid. What had happened in those years before she came to see him? She’d had a completely different childhood this time, what if she was a completely different person now?
He finally stepped into the room, sitting beside her on the bed. Now that he was closer, he could see the wince on her face. He reached out to smooth out her brow. They hadn’t been sure when she would wake, but he wasn’t going to leave her. He’d come here for an answer about why she had never come back all those years ago and he had it. But now he had even more questions, ones only she could answer.
She’d never felt this awful. The small light on her nightstand was on its lowest setting but even the dim light was enough to blind her. She struggled to get up, heading to the small fresher in her room. Her eyes adjusted better to the light by the time she was finished, needing two glasses of water, it felt like she hadn’t had a drink in days. Even with the headache, the memory came back. She’d left Jakku when she was so young, she hadn’t remembered much except what her parents had told her but she remembered having to go days without water. It felt so familiar.
She turned back to her room, finally seeing the plate of food left out for her. Then she saw him, sleeping peacefully on the far side of her bed. She clutched at the doorframe as everything came back. She must have made some kind of noise, Poe was up and in front of her helping her rise. “You need to eat and drink, and Leia left something for the headache you’ve got to have too,” he whispered as he held her up.
He was here, a solid, real, all grown up Poe. She grabbed at him, pulling him as close as possible. Everything was still a mess in her head, but she remembered him, being with him, losing him and then getting him back, if only partially. But he was here now and she wasn’t going to let him go ever again.
She let herself be pulled back to the bed, as long as she could feel the comforting weight of his hand on her, she was fine. There was a moment of panic when she sat down and he turned away from her but it subsided when he turned back with the small pill and another glass of water. “Take it, it’ll help,” he said with a small smile. “My head hurt off and on until everything got sorted out a little more in my mind. Luke though it could be even longer for you.”
“So you remember everything too?” she asked cautiously once she had taken the medicine. She could remember the last time she had seen him, he’d been so young then. She couldn’t help but worry about what she had missed in all those years.
He chuckled. “If feel like I’m 60,” he replied as he sat beside her. “I can remember living to be in my 30’s twice. It was pretty much the same at the beginning but then things changed more as I got older. I remember breaking my arm when I was nine but I don’t know if that happened in this life or if was the first time around. I remember my friend dying but he’s here with me now. I fought in two different wars but no one would ever believe me because I was born partway through the first one and the second one never happened. It’s confusing as hell.”
She could understand what he meant, her childhood a hazy blend of opposites. Being trapped in a hot metal box, scouring everywhere for anything useful to trade for food blended with nights of snuggling on a couch with loving parents and visits from her uncle training to use the Force. Despite how vastly different the memories felt there was a realness to them all. But the clearest ones were of Poe, of leaving a small band of people to travel into the past. Of meeting her family when they were young, falling in love, then losing it. And burying that grief by trying to finish his mission.
Poe looked at her worriedly. “Eat too,” he said as it reached for the plate. “I was starving when I woke up.”
He was right, once she started eating, she didn’t want to stop even if the food was just fruits. He offered to wake her parents, it was the middle of the night, but she shook her head. She remembered seeing the man she now thought of as a father fall to his death, the woman who became her mother being weighed down by a complete loss of hope and her uncle being a bitter, broken man. She wasn’t ready to see them yet, so he explained what they had told him instead.
He was watching her intently, making her want to break the silence once he had finished. “So what happens now?” she asked softly.
He looked away, making her nervous. “You’re my wife, that’s the clearest thing in my head right now,” he said finally. “I don’t know what happened after I left or was born, whatever you want to call it but if you said you’d marry me again right now I would. Even if everyone I know who doesn’t know about the time travel thinks I’m insane. All I know is I loved you then. Then you did the whole mysterious older woman thing, showing up at the worst time of my life then disappearing without without a trace. I’ve spent decades wondering what happened to you, and I don’t know if it was because some part of me remembered you or if it was just you. All I know is I love you now, even if you were raised to be a completely different person, you’re still Rey.”
The plate was forgotten, crashing to the floor as she moved to his lap. Now matter which way she looked at it, she hadn’t been able to kiss him in years. The familiar sensation of his lips on her was enough to make her want to cry. He didn’t waste time, wrapping his arms around her waist to have her flush against him. Maker, she had missed this. They both tumbled completely onto the bed, her hands finding their way into his hair. His hand slid up her side, when the flood of light filled the room.
“Hands off my kid Dameron,” Han’s (or her father’s) voice growled.
He loved Leia, he remembered looking up to her as his General and he remembered loving her like an aunt as a child but he could kiss her right now. Well he’d prefer to go back to kissing her daughter but everyone was wide awake now. She managed to tug Han out of the room, giving them a few minutes to get themselves back together. “I’m going to hope that means you feel the same way?” he asked nervously.
She smiled up at him, one hand going up to his neck to pull out the chain she had given him so long ago. He could remember that so clearly, the last time he had seen her. Looking back at it with adult eyes, it was different. She looked lost, she must have know what was happening, it had been her way of saying goodbye. The same sad smile was on her face now. “You do still have it,” she said as her finger slipped down to the ring attached. “And to answer your question, this is mine.”
His answering smile hurt, it was so big. He pulled the necklace off, unclasping it to pull the ring out. “Pretty sure we’re going to have to tell everyone the truth about the whole time travel thing,” he chuckled. “I’ve spent my whole life getting weird looks from everyone back home for years. People kept telling me I was named after some relative who died during the war. That I looked like him too. But if I show up with you as my wife?”
“Then we need to destroy that thing,” she said as she held out her finger, giving it a slightly impatient wiggle. “Can you imagine if the wrong person found out time travel was possible?”
“Can it be destroyed?” he asked, finally putting the ring back where it belonged.
“Pretty certain my lightsaber can cut it into enough pieces,” she grinned. “I at least got some training from Luke this time. Although I might have to stab him with it too. Lying bastard handed me a staff when I was younger saying the Force told him it would be a good weapon for me.”
“So getting raised by Han and Leia didn’t change you too much then?” he laughed.
She shook her head. “Better table manners, that’s about it. And I got to go to school.”
“Memories starting to settle?” he asked. “It’s getting easier to remember?”
“Maybe because your life was so similar both times it’s harder for you,” she explained. “If there’s sand and terror, it was the first life. Do you still have BB-8?”
“Yeah,” he grinned. “You might have to work to get him to like you this time, no threats of him being melted down or dismantled anytime soon. Hopefully, anyways.”
“What about Finn?” she asked nervously.
He took her hand, they had known this was a possibility. “I don’t know,” he replied honestly. “I know where Rose and Paige were from, I could find her but Finn isn’t his real name. If you want to try and find him we can. I’m willing to bet I could resign right now, Ackbar knew about us coming from the future. We show up together with Luke and explain, he’ll let me go, he always liked me. We aren’t at war, you stopped the First Order. We need a ship and credits though.”
Rey smiled brilliantly. “Guess its a good thing my father runs a shipping company and my mother was a Princess.”
“Then I guess we have a wedding to plan. And a very long, strange honeymoon to look forward to.”